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Home and Garden

How A Solar-Powered House Can Save You Money in the Long-run

Australia happens to be a particularly superb place to commit to solar energy, as it has the most amount of solar radiation in the world as far as continents go. Investing in a solar installation for your home is almost a no-brainer. Here are some ways doing so will mean more money for your wallet later.

Government Incentives

The Australian government may subsidize part of the costs for solar panel installation if you apply for a “Small-scale Technology Certificate.” Small-scale Technology Certificates are usually sold back to the company which installed the solar panels, to begin with for immediate cash-back, but they can also be sold on the open market.

Return of Investment

Even if some of the government incentives begin to disappear in the next several years, the disparity between electricity prices and solar prices is so large, that you will still save lots. Further, the price of electricity is going up over time, but once you have installed solar panels in your home, there are, no extra sun costs. The cost of the sun does not rise! That means you will save even more money on electric as time goes on, continually increasing your return of investment.

It commonly will take about 5 years to get back the money spent on solar system installation. This payback period can vary more or less depending on the area you live in and the amount of sunshine available there. Either way, it is a relatively short amount of time considering the savings you will incur thereafter.

Raise the Value of Your Property

Even if you decide to move homes before the time of your return of investment, you still will come out on top. That’s because the value of your home will increase undoubtedly. New owners or tenants of the house will be able to pay more to buy or rent it because they will save so much on energy bill costs.

Store Energy When It’s Available, Use it When It’s Convenient

Solar panels allow for a storage of energy when there is an excess, for example, when you are not even home. If you are at work all day and not using the harvested solar energy, it can be used at a later time, especially when you most need it.

You can even get money back when you have extra energy to return to the grid and lower your power bill. This action is facilitated by feed-in tariffs (FiT) paid to you by the electric company for providing them with energy. That means if you are harvesting more energy than you are using, you still save money. Further, the Commonwealth does not tax these earnings as if they were income.

Leasing

If the long-term commitment intimidates you despite the major payoff and return of investment, leasing is always another option. Some companies will even allow their clients to buy the solar panel equipment at the end of their leasing term. This way, you can experience the savings solar energy can give you without investment. Once you have first-hand proof you most probably will go for the purchase.

Read More:
Why You Need a Solar Panel

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Health and Medical

Time to get fit Sydney

Sydney is a busy place, with most of its inhabitants barely getting enough time for themselves. For an active person in a bustling city like this one, one way to take some time to themselves or reduce some stress would be to keep fit. There are plenty of ways to do this, below we have listed just a few of them.

Join a gym

This is one of the best ways to keep fit in Sydney, with numerous gyms strewn across the city. The good thing about joining a gym is that you get specialized assistance not only for the physical exercises bit but also for getting nutritional advice. In case you find private gyms being too costly for you, you can join charity organized gyms.

By joining, you will not only get a chance to keep fit but also get the opportunity to assist disadvantaged youth in your community through the fees that you pay. You can join a boxing club and not only keep fit but learn some defence tactics and discipline while at it.

Outdoor exercise

Most people cite the fact that gym memberships are too expensive as the reason why they fail to get fit. It should never be an excuse. You can exercise and keep fit from anywhere, anytime without going to a gym. There are lots of outdoor gyms in Sydney that one can join. You not only get to enjoy the fresh air as you lose some pounds, but you also get to interact with other people. The best thing about all this is that it is free.

Join a running group 

The best thing about running is you don’t need a team to do so. However, running in a group has its advantages. When you run together you motivate each other, you get to be more competitive when in a crowd which helps you in achieving your goals of keeping fit much quickly. There are plenty of such groups that cater to runners from all levels of experience. Some even organize weekly runs where you can show up and compete against your peers.

Scuba diving and snorkelling

Sydney is ideally placed for such activities. These are fantastic ways to get fit as you keep cool. You just have to choose one of the many protected areas where you can do whichever of these activities you enjoy. To some people, diving might not seem like such a great way to get fit, but it is. Just think about the kind of weight you get on your back before diving into the water. To be able to dive successfully, one has to be in good physical shape. This is achieved from the constant swimming that one does. 

Beach walks

If none of those mentioned exercise tips appeals to you, maybe walking on the beach will. This city is endowed with beautiful coastlines. Walking is a great way to keep fit, especially when it is done consistently. You can do solo walks or walk in groups as you enjoy the beauty that Sydney has to offer.

Clearly, this city has a lot to offer, for anyone who wants to get fit. With this list, you will have something that will appeal to you and help get fit in Sydney.

Read Also:

Why more women should consider boxing

Things You should never do in a fitness class

Categories
Business and Marketing

Invoicing Mistakes That Could Undermine Your Bottom Line

Prompt and professional invoicing not only assures the health of your business’s bottom line but, if done right, is also a significant interaction with your clients. 

But the process does have its challenges and potential pitfalls that cost your business in the short and long term, so it is vital to be aware of these and avoid them. Some of these potential pitfalls could put pressure on your cash flows, while others damage the prospect of doing more business with the customers.

Mistakes Than Can Ne Costly For Your Cash Flows

The mistake many businesses make is not sending their invoices timeously. Often late invoicing happens because you are too busy generating new business or don’t have the necessary procedures in place to ensure the invoicing process is a smooth one.

Falling into the trap of sending invoices after you have completed the job means it will take that much longer to get paid, directly impacting your cash flows.

When should you invoice your customers? A best practice is sending it soon after you have completed the work. If you have negotiated an upfront deposit, you should send the invoice as soon as the quote is accepted. Otherwise, it would be best if you processed the invoice as soon as your client has indicated you have completed the job to their satisfaction.

Sending the invoice soon after completing the work also ensures that the service you have offered the customer is fresh in their minds, along with the value you have added to their business. Your professionalism will also hold you in good stead when the customer has additional work.

Not knowing the right department and person that will be processing your invoice is also a mistake that could cause avoidable delays and put a dent in your bottom line. It’s worthwhile doing your homework upfront to find out who will be signing off on your invoice and making payment. Get their correct contact details so that you can be sure they are getting the invoice directly from you. Securing the information you need will speed up the process and result in you getting paid as early as possible to the benefit of your cash flows.

Invoices that don’t contain all the company’s required information could also result in costly delays. Every company has specific information that needs to appear on the invoice for it to meet its invoicing requirements.

What should those be? At a minimum, these include the company details, physical address, name of the person who gave you the work, an invoice number and an invoice date. Other information to add where needed is a due date for payment, relevant tax numbers and payment terms. It is advisable to find out the exact details required before you send the invoice to avoid the invoice being sent back to you for revision.

Not itemising services correctly and in line with those you committed to delivering can result in time-consuming queries from the customer. Even worse, it could cause disputes over whether the services you delivered line up with the contracted work.

Another pitfall is not being clear on the terms of payment upfront. If you don’t specify how and when the customer should pay, you cannot expect payment within the time-period you envisaged. 

To ensure payment on your terms, it is crucial to be transparent and specific about your expectations when you first negotiate the contract. It is also worth reminding customers of the terms on all subsequent communications around the payment.

It is preferable to offer your customer a variety of ways to make a payment, including credit cards, electronic fund transfers and PayPal.When payment methods are difficult for the customer, it puts additional and unnecessary hurdles in the way of prompt payment.

Invoicing Mistakes That Can Affect Your Ongoing Success

Invoicing has the potential to build or dent your company image. Any behaviour that conveys a lack of professionalism will undermine your reputation as a business offering quality services. Mistakes you want to avoid at all costs include sending an invoice that looks tardy, making spelling mistakes or providing inaccurate information.

Another mistake to avoid is adding unanticipated costs that you did not agree on with the customer. It is advisable to inform your customer as soon as you envisage your services will cost more, otherwise these extra fees could damage your reputation and reduce the likelihood of you getting further work from the customer.

As a small or medium enterprise, getting the invoice invoicing process right is much more critical than it is for an established business because it can materially impact your cash flows, as well as your customer relationships. So put in the effort upfront because invoicing plays a crucial role your business growth potential.

Read More:
Apricity – E-Invoicing Standards and How these are Influencing the Adoption

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Home and Garden

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Hardwood Floor

Once you’ve invested in a hardwood floor for your house, you’ll want to keep it looking good. Spills and dirt are harder to take out from a carpeted floor than a hardwood floor. However, consistent maintenance is essential to keep your floors in excellent condition for several years to come. Here are five tips for maintaining your hardwood floor:

Clean Spills Immediately

Any spills on your hardwood floors will cause stains if they are not wiped as soon as they happen. Use a dry or damp piece of cloth to wipe off any spills. Avoid wet mops as they will ruin your floor over time. Moisture on the floor and in the air will make the wood to either swell or shrink. Make sure that wet shoes are left outdoors. If stains from spills set into your floor, you can only get it out by refinishing the floor.

Sweep Daily

You might think it’s a bit excessive to sweep or dust your hardwood floor every day, but it’s not. Whether your home has high traffic or not, dust forms everywhere. Sweeping your floor every day will stop the dust from settling between the timber floorboards or scratching the wood. If you have furry pets with constant shedding, you may have to sweep a couple of times a day with a rubber broom.

Use Rugs and Hall Runners

Prevention is better and cheaper than restoration. Protect your floors with rugs and hall runners, mainly in high traffic areas. They will keep your hardwood floors looking new while protecting them from dust, spills, and scratching. Get a waterproof rug with a woven back to limit exposure to moisture while promoting healthy airflow. Make sure to clean under the carpet at least weekly.

Use Protective Furniture Pads

You can’t control some of the dents and scratches on your hardwood floors, but you can control others. Using felt or furniture pads on the feet of your furniture’s legs is one of the best ways to prevent scratches. The various types of pads include:

  • Slip-on pads – these fit snugly over the furniture leg
  • Tap-on or nail-on pads – these work best for heavy furniture that you hardly move
  • Stick-on pads – these stick on the bottom of the foot of your furniture and are available of most local hardware stores

Re-Finish After 3 Years

Your hardwood floors will start to dull over time. To give them back a clean and fresh look, you will have to apply a fresh coat of wood floor finish. Doing this after three years will keep the timber floorboards in good condition for generations to come. There’s no point in investing in an elegant hardwood floor and not take great care of it. Vacuuming your floor daily, using area rugs and runners, wiping spills as soon as possible and using protective furniture pads will keep your floor in good condition for a long time. Attending to any damages quickly will prevent total replacement of timber floorboards. After a couple of years, re-finish the floor with a new coat to restore its shine.

Read More:
Engineered Wood Vs Solid Wood
Colours to consider for your new engineered timber flooring

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Home and Garden

Keep Safe From The Worst Of Summer Pests

Pets can be a menace at any time, and especially in the summer when we observe higher rates of activity in local insect populations. These pests can spread very quickly over wide areas with devastating results left in their wake. There are a wide variety of pests that thrive in the warmer months of the year, including fleas, ticks and flies. These pests are not only nuisances; they can also bring about issues to do with the health and wellbeing of members of the family. Being aware of these pests (and their behaviour patterns) is imperative in maintaining a level of protection against them.

There are several ways and means that you can employ to ensure your safety as well as that of your loved ones. In making use of these methods, you will be taking proactive measures to minimise the potential harm that the pests may bring about. These measures include such actions as:

Effective Pest Management

Do you have a pest management plan I place? Are you vigilant and constant with it, not just in the summer but also throughout the year? One of the most effective means of pest control is pest management. A good plan will always include a comprehensive inspection of both the interior and exterior of the home to identify areas of vulnerability. The inspection should detect common entry and egress points for pests as well as spots where they prefer to form habitats.

Timely Extermination

It is always best to identify and deal with a problem before it gets out of hand. This is especially true with pests in the home. In some cases, however, it is not always possible to immediately identify that an issue has arisen. In these instances, the best solution would be for you to be observant and take note of any increases in pest activity around you. Once this has been spotted, you must take steps to eliminate their presence as soon as it can be arranged. Having a professional come in to carry out the pest extermination process ensures that the best methods for extermination are in use. These, in turn, certify more satisfactory results.

Identity

You must endeavour to identify pests that may potentially invade your home. Identifying them is the key to discerning what to look for in specific areas of the house. An example would be spiders. If you know that spiders commonly increase in your area during the summer months, then you will always remember to check common hiding spots to avoid accidents and injury.

Keeping oneself safe from common summer pests does not have to be a complicated and time-consuming task. Hiring a professional can be the best options, especially in terms of pest control. A professional will have the upper hand in making use of best practices to prevent or even do away with pests that might make the summer months unbearable. Take the time to consult with a pest control expert to make sure that you have a proper pest management plan in place so that you may be able to keep safe and to avoid the worst of the consequences that may result from the lack when the seasons change and it becomes summertime again.

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Home and Garden

Why Spring is a Great Time to Buy A Heater

Most people will probably tell you they get their wood heaters fixed or buy new ones during Winter. It’s the typical time to do so with the cold season quickly approaching, and most of us often like doing things at the last moment.

But is Winter the best time to buy yourself a heater? The answer is no. Below; we have given reasons why we believe spring is the best time to buy a heater for your home.

1. Great discounts.  

Every year new heaters are introduced into the market just the same way Smartphone manufacturers are always releasing new versions of mobile phones each year. While the latest heaters in the market are going to be pricey, the same way the most recent iPhone in the market is, getting an older version of a heater will get you massive discounts.

There are usually very minimal additions to the previous models, and the older models will work just as great. You can refer to your mobile phones to confirm how much additional features you often find in your newest models compared to the previous versions. Most often, the extra features do not correspond with the pricing.

But that’s how the marketplace works, and there is something you can do about it if you want to save some dollars. Most manufacturers and sellers of heaters will give significant discounts during spring as they try to phase out the older ones. This is great basis to make a purchase during this period.

2. Plenty of contractors

During spring, most contractors will not be as busy as they would during other seasons. For instance, it is not hot, yet so they won’t be out repairing as many ACs as they would during the summer. And the cold season has long gone by so they won’t be working on the heating system yet.

In short, this is the best period to have contractors come over to work on your heating system. You are more likely to have them more flexible during this period, which might allow them to work according to your availability, something they would ordinarily not do in busier periods.

3. Good time to try it out

Spring is an ideal time to try out your heater to see how well it works. While summer will certainly not be suitable for such, in spring your contractor should have ideal temperatures to test your newly installed heater. On the other hand, if you decide to have the heater installed in fall, you are likely to leave your family in the cold for some time before the heating system is fixed.

Whether you intend to get a freestanding wood fireplace or an insert wood fireplace, armed with these suggestions we are almost sure you have found enough reasons to get yourself a wood heater in spring and make sure your family will be ready for the cold months. You are likely going to save on money and certainly get great services with most contractors having ample time to pay close attention to their clients’ projects.

Read Also:

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Home and Garden

Appeal Tribunal Upholds A By-Law Banning Short-Term Letting

Short-term letting has become a popular source of housing accommodation after it was revealed to be an appealing alternative to booking hotels and hostels for those that are travelling or on holiday. The premise behind short-term letting is to offer the comforts of a home away from home. They have also proven to be a popular source of income for the property owners.

Short-term letting is not problem-free. It has garnered its fair share of controversies while presenting several problems that cannot be overlooked. It has also proven to have some impact on the norms that are established within the community. Some of the symptoms of this problem include:

Trash and Littering

With the frequent change of residents within short-term rental units, some short-term renters may not follow the norms of the community with regard to the disposal of waste and the general upkeep of the community. This can cause permanent residents to have to deal with periods where their living areas, especially in the common spaces, look less than ideal.

Noise

When residents are accustomed to living in an area with certain specific levels of noise around them, especially if agreed upon beforehand, having to deal constantly with loud, unruly short-term tenants can be jarring. They may not always adhere to the rules regarding noise levels. This can lead to constantly disgruntled neighbours and frequent complaints.

With set etiquette and an established way of living, well functioning strata management will have established an ideal environment for its residents. Short-term tenants, therefore, can be a disruption to all, no matter if they are model tenants. This is especially true when it comes to the security of being familiar with all those living around you. It would not be possible to get to know a multitude of short-term tenants at all times.

Why A By-Law?

With regard to national law, strata management is allowed to establish rules that govern the community to maintain a certain living standard. These by-laws, however, are not to be discriminatory. They should not uphold one group of people while restricting another. Everyone residing within the building should be catered to equally, including short-term tenants, in this case. This caveat also covers restrictions to the leasing of units within the strata.

A property owner arguing just this when the body corporate initially ratified the by-law banning short-term letting filed a lawsuit. After arguments were presented, the suit was upheld, and the body corporate informed that their by-law could not apply. The decision was appealed, with the argument that short-term letting does not provide the ability for the tenants to be wholly vested in upholding the rules and tenets of the community. A judge presented this reasoning as the reason why the appeal was successful and the by-law was allowed to remain.

Based on this successful appeal and with a closer inspection of the reasoning that the magistrate applied in granting the appeal, body corporate services in Melbourne are to take note. This case has provided a cautious victory to body corporate service providers where they are now reassured of their ability to set by-laws that most comprehensively cater to their communities’ needs. They should, nevertheless, be careful to wield this power tactfully and with an eye only toward the greater good.

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Home and Garden

Experienced Strata Manager Relocates To St. Leonard’s

Your strata manager is a vital part of the living community. Their role is designed to cater to the best interests of the strata as set forth by the owners’ corporation. Their purview covers plenty of responsibilities that are imperative in the effective running of strata.

These tasks include such aspects as:

  • Financial oversight and care of the owners’ corporation’s accounts
  • Handling community disputes as they arise.
  • Addressing concerns brought forth by owners and tenants alike.
  • Overseeing the care and maintenance of common areas.
  • Enforcing etiquette requirements among all members of the community.

In addition to their myriad everyday jobs, a strata manager is also a liaison between the owner’s corporation and the local governments as well as other local strata. This link can prove invaluable in the creation of a broader community that is harmonious and well-integrated so that any problems that may arise in the short or long term are dealt with promptly and with satisfactory results. In addition to having a reliable network that is available in case of adverse situations, a well-connected strata manager can also find it easier to find ways to improve the living standard of the community through ideas that are drawn from others.

One of the most valuable tools in a strata manager’s arsenal is experience. Having an experienced strata manager close at hand can, therefore, provide a significant boost to the running of the owners’ corporation. This can only mean good things for the state of the living community as a whole.

This experience enables the strata manager to hit the ground running once they are settled in their new area. They can identify and relate to the issues that may be plaguing your strata and would then know how to best tackle them. They can even bring n a fresh set of eyes so that concerns that might have been previously overlooked will be identified and rectified in a timely fashion.

 A strata manager must also be able to work well with the owners’ corporation to define and attain a common goal. A good manager will be able to identify the needs of the community quickly, in addition to the ability to take on the concerns of the owners’ corporation. From this information, the strata manager should then be able to form a workable plan to ensure that all avenues are covered and that few things, if any, are unobserved. Having a working knowledge of the dynamics of the strata in question can also be handy. It could help to streamline interactions with residents while providing the best methods to be applied in relating the needs of the strata to the resources available in the community at large.

With an experienced strata management team relocating to St. Leonard’s, you now have the option of having some of the best body corporate services in Sydney close by. There is a wealth of information and practice on hand to draw from as the running of your strata is taken in hand. You would have peace of mind as you go about your day to day living, assured that a competent strata company is at the wheel and will not steer you wrong.

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Home and Garden

Outdoor Makeover Ideas

The condition of your backyard gives the first impression of your home. If you have a neat exterior, it shows that you are an organized person, while a poorly-maintained outdoors is usually a sign that you do not care. For this reason, it is crucial always to ensure that your backyard is in a prime condition.

The best way of keeping your outdoors in top shape is by conducting a backyard makeover. You should start by considering your landscaping options, the intended purpose of the backyard, the people who will use it, and how it will affect the overall setting of your home.

Regardless of its current condition, a makeover can transform your backyard from bland to attractive. The following are the best outdoor makeover ideas that you should look to implement.

Replace Outdated Structures

Outdoor buildings are the most conspicuous structures in your backyard. If they appear old, they significantly reduce their attractiveness. The first step of a makeover is replacing outdated structures with news ones. For instance, if you have an old garden shed, you can demolish it and construct a new one.

However, if your budget cannot allow you to build new structures, make sure that you repair the existing ones to give them a fresh feel. You can also repaint them to make them look more modern.

Enlarge Your Patio

Many homeowners make the mistake of constructing patios that are too small. When doing the makeover, you should look to expand your patio so that it can accommodate larger furniture and have sufficient walking space.

That said, the size of your patio should be relative to the amount of space in your backyard. If the backyard has an abundance of space, the patio should be large, and vice versa.

Renovate Your Pavements

In most homes, pavements are made of standard grey concrete. The problem with this is that it is boring. You can add style to your paving by engraving and staining so that the concrete looks like a natural stone. This will not only add beauty, but it will also give your backyard a unique appearance.

Get Creative

Many homeowners usually find it challenging to make use of narrow spaces within their backyards. However, with the help of a landscaping expert, you can turn such spaces into useful areas for outdoor living. For instance, you can use a creative garden shed layout to ensure that no space remains next to your fence. You could also implement smart techniques to save extra space where you can grow flowers and other garden plants.

Should You Do It Yourself?

Renovating your backyard requires time, effort, and a considerable amount of skill. Demolishing and constructing new structures can be demanding and time-consuming.

Moreover, plumbing and tasks that deal with electrical wiring can be quite risky if you do not have adequate knowledge of the matters. If your makeover involves such jobs, it is advisable to hire a professional. Although it costs money, you get the assurance that the job will be successful and safe. You should only opt for DIY if the task at hand is easy.

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Home and Garden

The Secret Behind Remarkable Outdoor Decking

There are few things that are better than inviting your friends and family to your home and spending an enjoyable day on the deck socialising and having fun. Entertaining can be your domain, with your outdoor deck serving as your kingdom. Your outdoor decking can be an extension of the interior of your home. It can also be a separate space completely on its own, with its own aesthetic and design elements that are unique to it alone. The final say is yours and you can create what is truly appealing to you and your family and home environment.

Good outdoor decking has certain common characteristics that set it apart from all others. During the building process, you should take care to ensure that the builders do not overlook these characteristics so that you can be sure that your deck is at its best when all the work is done. These features include:

Materials

The materials that are used in the construction of your deck can make or break its final look and design. Sturdy, well-made materials guarantee the durability of the deck, thus ensuring its use long after it was first erected. You must choose the materials that you would like to use carefully, taking into consideration all available pros and cons before purchasing them. Some materials, like hardwood, are widely available while less conventional options like bamboo have proven to be eco-friendlier. All in all, the choice of materials rests entirely on what attracts you most as well as how you expect them to perform.

Overall Design

The design of your deck can change the way your backyard looks. Some designs are a clever play on unique aspects of the house that the owner would like to highlight, while others are created to be a seamless transition between the home and the yard. In all these, the design of the deck must fit the space it is going to be installed in, not just visually, but functionally too. Well-designed outdoor decking becomes a joy to be on, making it comfortable and relaxing to be outside.

Installation

The process of installing a deck is crucial. Your contractor must go about it in a manner that will give the most seamless, and longest-lasting results. If the decking is not securely installed, then it will not last long before it begins to crumble under the weight that is placed on it, thus necessitating costly repairs or even removal. The decking must also be installed by someone with know-how so that it is done well and every detail is taken into account. Make your deck a truly impressive addition to your home by demanding nothing but the best during the process of installation. Seek out builders that are truly masters of their craft and whose work has been tried, tested, and have proven to withstand the test of time. Your builder must be well versed in the process of deck building, from the design to the planning and installation. Make your outdoor decking be a presentation of the best of your backyard landscaping so that you can inspire awe and envy in all those that get to experience it. You will now be able to redefine the art of outdoor decking design.